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Mount Etna 3-day guided splitboarding adventure

Explore the famous Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe, in a memorable 3-day splitboarding trip led by one of the IFMGA-certified guides in the Peakshunter team.

Duration3 days
Offer periodJan, Feb, Mar
Skill LevelBeginner
Fitness LevelOccasional
Type of tripNot specified

Description

Mount Etna is a stratovolcano (built up by many layers of lava and other volcanic materials) in Sicily’s east coast, between the cities of Catania and Messina, in Italy. Standing at 3,350 meters, it is the highest active volcano in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Etna extends over a surface area of 1,190 km2. Thanks to its unique conical shape, it offers numerous wild off-piste routes on all sides, with abundant snow – often covered by a thin layer of ash –, perfect for backcountry enthusiasts!

Our tour’s meeting point will be the airport of the city of Catania, from where we will drive to the town of Nicolosi, on Mount Etna’s south side. The ascent to the 4-craters summit will begin on the following day, starting from Rifugio Sapienza at 1,910 meters. We can take the cable car uphill to the mountain station at 2,500 meters or directly splitboard up the lava slopes using skins and crampons, reaching the top in about 3 hours. While this is not a technical ascent, it still features a few challenging sections, which may require using crampons or knives. The average daily cumulative elevation gain is approximately 800-1,000 meters.

During our journey, we will ride across Etna visiting numerous volcanic cones and craters formed after the eruptions. Along the way, we will enjoy breathtaking views to the treeless vast white slopes, contrasting with the black lava rocks and the farther deep blue Ionian, Tyrrhenian, and Mediterranean seas. From above, we will also see the beautiful coast city of Taormina and the tip of the Italian Peninsula, the city of Calabria. We will spend the nights in two different B&Bs or mountain refuges.

The best time to go on this trip is from January to March, given the weather and snow conditions.

Ride Mount Etna’s slopes and discover its magical landscape in this fascinating 3-day splitboarding trip. Send me your booking request now!

I also offer a ski touring version of this program. If you are looking for other splitboarding experiences in Italy, check out the 6-day Monte Rosa trip, the 6-day Grand Paradiso National Park program, and the Valpelline 5-day splitboarding tour in the Aosta Valley.

Details

Accommodation

B&B or mountain refuge

Disclaimer

The guide reserves the right to change the itinerary depending on the weather and snow conditions, as well as on participants’ technical skills and fitness level.

More info

You need to bring: Equipment: • Avalanche Transceiver, shovel, and probe • Splitboard, boots, bindings, and skins • Ice axe, ski knives, and crampons with anti-balling • 30/40-litre backpack • Headlamp (and spare batteries) • Camera • Duct tape • Sunscreen and lip balm with sun protection • First aid kit • Personal hygiene kit • Energy bars or dried fruit • 1-litre water bottle or thermo Clothing: • Waterproof pants, and underpants or tights • Fiber turtleneck and breathable t-shirts • Waterproof jacket and wind stopper • Ski pants • Ski mask • Wool cap/beanie or fleece-lined hat • Buff • 2 pairs of ski socks • Ski gloves and light gloves • Sunglasses for glacier-high mountain • Duvet (optional)

Meeting point

Catania airport, Sicily, Italy


Photos


Itinerary

Day 1: Catania - Nicolosi - La Montagnola

Meeting at Catania airport and travel on a mini van to the town of Nicolosi, on Mount Etna’s south side, to check in at our accommodation (a B&B or a mountain hut). Depending on arrival time and weather conditions, we will go on a short hike to La Montagnola (2,700m), leaving from Rifugio Sapienza (1,910m), and visit the famous Silvestri Craters. After a rest at Rifugio Monte Scavo, we will return to the B&B/refuge.

Ascent/descent time: 2 hours (using the lifts)

Cumulative elevation gain: +250m uphill (from Rifugio Sapienza to La Montagnola)

Day 2: Piano del Lago - Torre del Filosofo - Southeast Crater

Starting from Rifugio Sapienza, we will take the cable car up to the mountain station at 2,504 meters. We will hike across the Piano del Lago area, on the right, where we will find the new craters formed in 2001 and 2002. Passing by the Torre del Filosofo, we will reach the edge of the Southeast Crater (3,250m), and we will then climb to the saddle between the Central and Northeast Craters (3,350m). We will return to our accommodation via the same route.

Ascent/descent time: 5 hours

Cumulative elevation gain: +850m

Alternative plan: great crossing of Etna from South to North (slightly more challenging route)

After the Central and Northeast craters, we will descend along the Crest of the Valle del Leone/Bove, admiring beautiful views to Taormina and the Strait of Messina. We will descend towards the Volcanological Observatory, and then cross westwards towards the lifts, reaching the Monte Conca trail and the Piano Provenzana ski area (1,830m). Overnight in a B&B or hut.

Ascent/descent time: 7 hours

Cumulative elevation gain: 1,400m

Day 3: Pizzi Deneri - Piano delle Concazze - Canalone delle Quarantore

We will head to the town of Linguaglossa, on the north side of the volcano, and ride along the southeast shoulder of the Pizzi Deneri (2,847m), which offers great views to the Valle del Leone/Bove and the summit craters. From Monte Conca – Piano Provenzana, we take the lift to the craters opened in 2002, towards the Northeast Crater. Soon after, we head left towards the Piano delle Concazze towards the Volcanological Observatory, from where we will be able to enjoy views to eastern Sicily, the Ionian Sea, and Calabria. We will then descend via the Canalone delle Quarantore back to Piano Provenzana. Transfer to Catania airport.

Ascent/descent time: 6 hours

Cumulative elevation gain: +1,000m

Alternative plan: visit to the Grotta del Gelo

From Monte Conca – Piano Provenzana, we will climb to Monte Pizzillo (1,400m), where we will visit the mini craters formed in 1947. Riding across several lava flows, we will arrive at the Grotta del Gelo, a lava cave located at 2,100 meters on the northern slope of Etna, famous for having the southernmost glacier in Europe.

Ascent/descent time: 6 hours

Cumulative elevation gain: 1,200m


About the guide

guide profile img

Founded in 2013 by Elis and Silvia, PEAKSHUNTER is a team of IFMGA-certified mountain guides.

Although we all have different backgrounds and experiences, we share the same goals and projects and, more than anything, love our job and share a deep passion for the mountains.

Professionalism and safety are our core values because we love our job and we are passionate about Mountain and Nature.
We are enthusiastic to share new adventures and guarantee the most memorable emotions to all our clients.
If you are interested in experience the beauty of Nature and the power of the Mountains, Peakshunter Mountain Guides will be happy to guide you! We want to provide you with intense emotions and want to be there to share them with you. We feel we've done our job when there are big, cheesy smiles on everybody's faces at the end of the day.

We want to build a strong, long-lasting relationship with our clients, based on the respect we feel for everyone who joins us in the exploration of this striking vertical world.

Mont Blanc, Matterhorn, Monterosa, Dufourspitze and Margherita Hut, Gran Paradiso, Breithorn, Castor and Pollux are only a few of several 4000 Alps summits next to the area we live and work: the beautiful little Aosta Valley region, close to French and Swiss borders and not far from Geneva, Milan and Turin international airports.

Realize your dreams, discovering breathtaking views or simply living an extraordinary day: you just need to use your imagination and we will realize your trip as you desire to live it!

Peakshunter Mountain Guides team will be happy to guide you, sharing adventures and being you companions, personal trainers, consultants and expertise supporters for all you need in planning the next Mountain dream!


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